Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sound Test 3

This month, we will be examining the musical stylings of one of my favorite game series: Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell. The first game in the series came out in 2002 and was hailed as a breakthrough in lighting effects and stealth gameplay. To me, it was a breakthrough  in a lot of things. I loved the characters, the story, the music, and the mood of the game. For brevity's sake, let's talk about the music.

In most of the games, the music serves as ambiance. It rarely takes the forefront, and often doesn't even have any sort of real melody. In short, it generally couldn't get stuck in your head. However, there was one exception for me. Whenever Sam (the protagonist) was caught in scripted events where guards would pour in on his position, this rockin' tune got going. When you hear that riff, you know some hardcore business is going down. Sam Fisher doesn't mess around.

The second game's music is notable in that it was written by acclaimed composer Lalo Schifrin [most famous for writing the Mission Impossible theme (he also composed the soundtrack to the Rush Hour films)]. This guy knew what he was doing. He kept to the tradition of keeping the music in the background, but still put some flavor to it.

Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, often lauded as the best game in the series, arguably contains the best music of the games (reminds me of a little Capcom series in which the third game has the best music...). Amon Tobin, a famous Brazilian DJ, did the music for the game. As a house musician, Tobin was easily able to make the music part of the environment. He was in his element.

Here's a song from the fourth game. I don't want to talk about the game very much right now.

The fifth game is the most divergent from the series and takes the games in a new direction. The music was no exception. The music was done by Michael Nielson and Kaveh Cohen (who as far as I know are not famous for much else, but may become so in the near future; I really don't know); also of note here, Amon Tobin was asked back to do some tracks as well (he accepted and knocked it out of the park). Here, the music is more active and involved. Overall, it reflects the new style of the game and fits the gameplay as perfectly as the environmental music did in the previous games.

Well, I hope you enjoyed the musical adventures of Sam Fisher this month. Next month, ProtoScott will take a turn at Sound Test. In the meantime, keep your ears open for cool tunes!


  1. Oh snap Timo spouting some controversial opinions with that capcom series stuff. Although I 100 percent agree.

  2. I just have one question: who among the readers would argue with me?

  3. Jon. But he will gladly argue with anyone about anything.